A Quick Opinion: Do you feel comfortable being out in a crowd?

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A Winters Express op-ed column

By Charley Wallace Having had both of my COVID-19 vaccine shots, I feel pretty invincible. It has been over a month and the Center for Disease Control is telling me that the chances are low that I can get the virus or pass it on. If I do get infected with COVID-19 it should be mild and I won’t die, which is high on my list of what I don’t want to do. Maybe I’ve been a little too lax in my socializing lately, but I’m still wearing a mask in stores, keeping my distance from people, and of course, not shaking hands. I’ve even started hosting a pool game once a week with a small group of friends who have also had both their shots. I did wince when a newcomer showed up and everyone shook hands. Old habits are hard to break. I passed around the hand sanitizer. Use it or lose it? With a lot of vacations cancelled last year, there will be deadlines on when me must use our airline tickets. Our ex-temporary tenant Laura and her husband Rance had to use a trip to Arizona or lose it. I was volunteered to stay a couple of nights watching the two grandkids and entertain them. I miswrote a couple of weeks ago — Brett is 13 and Jenna is 14. While I was supposed to be watching them, I had no idea what they were doing most of the time. Jenna spent Friday night at a friend’s house and was babysitting most of Saturday, while Brett relaxed in front of his computer wearing headsets. We made pizza for dinner one night and I served up some chicken and broccoli the next evening. Brett cooked up some mac & cheese and I’ll admit that it tasted as good as I remembered. I did help Brett make a skate ramp, which we learned to build by watching a YouTube video. It was bigger and heavier than Brett expected, but that didn’t keep him from sending video to all of his friends. Better to skate than sit around watching YouTube videos all day. Brett is on a traveling basketball team and had a tournament in Oakland on Saturday and Sunday. Years ago someone built a freeway from the valley to San Jose. It is at least four lanes most of the way, but there was still traffic even on a Saturday. It took a little over an hour — each way — and when my map program took me to a dead end street behind the gymnasium, I started looking for the paid parking lot. The gym is by the freeway and the underpasses are full of homeless people living in their cars. Many had their windows broken out and the garbage was piling up — not a pretty picture. I paid the $10 to park, and $10 to watch the basketball game. There were three games on Sunday, but I was relieved of duty after the second game when Laura and Rance flew back into the Oakland airport. There was an hour between games, so I left the kids behind and walked about eight blocks to find a cup of coffee. I had to walk under the freeway — which was depressing — and past grand houses that were past their prime. A few of these multi-story homes were fixed up and I was wondering if the neighborhood was changing with the rising cost of housing across the bay. I found a coffee/donut shop on a corner and wasn’t surprised to be greeted by a security guard who showed me where I could order a cup of coffee (and a maple donut). Walking back through the parked cars and garbage makes you appreciate how the few homeless we have in Winters looks pretty good in comparison. Get your shots when you can and have a good week.

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